Posts Tagged ‘Chicken’

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Decided to head off on a road trip to the Sunshine coast with a detour to Sydney to catch up with some friends and family. My brilliant cousin Alyssa decided that if I was making the effort to drive up then the least she could do was point me in the direction of a reasonable burger joint. She suggested a few places, but since it was a Sunday lunch, we were limited in choice. Thankfully The Horse in Surry Hills was open.

The Horse has some sort of deal with Chicken and son’s – I’m not sure how it all works – but the result is the Whitehorse hotel in Surry hills has an amazing selection of burgers on the menu. Alyssa had heard that the burger to go for was the big bird – add bacon. She’s the kind of girl who does her research – so my burger selection was made the moment we sat down. The rest of the table ordered more sensibly sized burgers – except for my mate Shane. When the time came for him to order, he sheepishly shook his head and mumbled that he was fine – he’d had a salad before he came. He had a salad… It was one of those moments where there’s a dip in the background noise just at the exact point in time that the words are uttered. The whole table wasn’t sure what to say. It’s was pretty awkward – I was immediately concerned about his mental heath of course. I think my daughter started to cry. We tried to move on, but there was a lingering weird vibe to be honest.

Anyway, I should probably talk about the burger – I normally don’t go for the chicken, but in this case it was the chicken that they were known for, so I had my excuse.

The burger wasn’t cheap – well north of $20, but realistically it was at least 2 if not three reasonably sized burgers in one. It was pretty difficult to actually take the first bite – but being the professional that I am, I gave it a red hot crack and almost dislocated my jaw – first up you notice the Two buttermilk, double fried chicken fillets, crunchy and yet still amazingly tender and juicy, with just a hint of some spice. This burger is all about the chicken. The bun was quite soft and you get a middle slice of bread – so there’s a lot of bread when you consider the breading on the chicken. The burger comes with double American cheese – nicely melted and doing it’s job of holding the burger together. I added bacon – a good move to be honest, adding a nice smokey, salty note. There was a fairly generous layer of pickles – normally a good thing – although in this case they were a little sweet for my tastes. I think it needed a sharper element to cut through all that bread. The chopped red onion added a little bite and the lettuce was fresh and cold and crunchy and was a nice contrast. The sauce seemed like a slightly spiced aioli – but there was nowhere near enough. The burger was a bit dry to be honest, with all that bread it needed some sauce. In some of the other burgers there was a coleslaw – and I think that might have worked here. The chicken was amazing don’t get me wrong, but put together as it was, it was more of a gimmick than a well thought out burger. The two levels and extra bread really didn’t add anything but looks. I’d love to try the single level burger or even the beef burger – but as far as the big bird goes, I’d have to say it was a little bit of a disappointment. I’d say 7 out of 10.

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Chicken with forty cloves of garlic is a classic casserole dish that is just made for the middle of winter. As we are coming up to the winter solstice I thought it would be appropriate to serve up this amazing dish. Actually I should credit Kathy, my Mother-in-law for this one – she’s a big time foodie and an inspirational cook. She’s the kind of cook that start’s planning for the main meal the night before, and she’s not the type to just throw together something bland and uninteresting. I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad meal cooked by Kathy.

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Not quite there…

I think Kathy made this on my first trip over to Florida with Katie when we first got engaged about 9 years ago. I was dubious about a dish that contained 40 actual cloves of garlic – I mean I like garlic – but that sounded like some crazy future mother-in-law move to keep Katie and I from making out – for the next 10 years… But being new, I played along. Kathy served the meal with green beans, mashed potato and fresh bread. And of course some pretty good wine as is always the case at the Steen table.It took about two bites of this dish for it to go straight into my top meals of all time. It really is that good. It’s a pretty old recipe and the version that Kathy uses is based on a James Beard recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 4 celery stalks chopped
  • 2 medium-size onions, diced
  • 6 sprigs parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • cup olive oil
  • 2 medium sized chickens, cut up into quarters
    • I keep the breast on the bone with the skin on and the wing drumette attached
  • ½ cup dry vermouth (I Use martini Brand – Vermouth is only good for two things, and both need the good stuff…)
  • 2 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 40 cloves garlic peeled

Yep – there really is 40 cloves of garlic. I think the original recipe calls for unpeeled garlic – I’ve never had it that way but if you really can’t be bothered peeling 40 cloves, (And you can’t buy there already peeled) I’m sure it’s great with the garlic unpeeled…

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Put all the herbs and chopped veg into the bottom and then the chicken on top

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190c
  2. Chop the celery and the onions and cover the bottom of a heavy casserole dish – I use my Le Creuset French Oven
  3. Sprinkle in the parsley and chopped tarragon
  4. Rub some of the oil over the chicken pieces and place in the casserole dish
  5. Pour the remaining oil (Kathy often uses less oil – I throw it all in) and the Vermouth over the chicken
  6. Sprinkle the salt, pepper and nutmeg over the dish and tuck the garlic around and under the chicken (You can put in half before you put the chicken in the dish)
  7. Cover the top of the casserole dish tightly with aluminium foil and place lid over the top to create an airtight seal.
  8. Place in the oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes without removing the cover.

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You will be amazed at how much liquid is created – and this is the best part of the dish… The fished product really doesn’t look all that flash. And if it were a restaurant, I’m sure they would pan off the chicken pieces a bit like confit duck, and then serve it with the sauce. Don’t bother, leave it as is – it tastes a good as it smells – not as it looks.

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You can see here just how much liquid is created – these pan juices are delicious

Spoon over as much of the sauce as you can – it’s delicious to sop up with some fresh French bread – baguette. It’s also great if you serve it with gnocchi, or mashed potato. You can also spread the tender garlic cloves onto the bread, it really is quite delicious.

This really is one of my favourite meals to make and eat at home, and apart from the peeling of the garlic, it’s a pretty easy meal to make.